Leprechaun — the New Year’s first movie release — stole away with $2.5 million its opening weekend, assisted by a marketing blitz involving everything from the American Stock Exchange (where a leprechaun rang the opening bell — the first such foray for a movie character) to teams from the National Basketball Association (which sponsored ”Leprechaun Nights”). But not everyone approved of tie-ins with the grisly R-rated tale about a vengeful little killer.
The Domino’s Pizza chain, for one, didn’t think it tasteful. ”It wasn’t an appropriate fit for our product,” says Barry Schrag, director of marketing for Domino’s Pizza, western region, who was approached about a tie-in with the 275 L.A. Domino’s Pizzas.
Undaunted by corporate resistance, Trimark, the movie’s distributor, went grass roots, approaching individual Domino’s franchisees. The result: Domino’s tie-ins in about 25 cities nationwide, in which coupons on the pizza boxes offered free popcorn at theaters showing Leprechaun. Trimark also persuaded more than a dozen Subway Sandwich franchisees to promote the flick.
”We found out that being aggressive pays off,” says David Bowers, Trimark’s VP of publicity and promotion.
He’s not kidding. As the movie — now on 620 screens — goes wider in a week, look out for a special comic-book handout at theaters showing the film and the Leprechaun video board game, due in February.